The Wrestler (2008) Review

director: Darren Aronofsky

writer: Robert D. Siegel

starring: Mickey Rourke & Marisa Tomei

genre: Drama | Sports

released: December 17, 2008 (U.S.) 

When Aronofsky met Rourke and all went well! 

Personally, I'm a big fan of Aronofsky and consider him one of the most talented directors of our time. Though I would never believe that he would take this direction in his filmmaking. In "The Wrestler" we see a more mature Aronofsky and Rourke maybe in his greatest role of the last few years. Lets now analyze the film a bit..


Wrestling. The most that we know, is that they are fixed with utmost goal to entertain and to keep the crowds. That is also the role of the great Rourke, who portrays a old timer wrestler from the decade of the 80's, in a bad economic state, full of anabolic substances, who's abandoned his daughter (here we should thank Aronofsky who could have and didn't give the whole realm of the story to the family issues and decided to divide the time accordingly and fall into any other kind of genre cliché), living all alone in a trailer shack and working parallel two jobs trying to make ends meets.


The film ties with an almost poetic way the unbearable loneliness of a down and out middle-aged man who laid waste under the American Dream and his own stupidity. Aronofsky this time more focused than ever before uses documentary techniques, with the camera, keeping a close distance to the muddy details of psychical pain and anguish the protagonist is feeling, making us in return feel very compassionate to him. In regards to the direction I don't think there is somebody who can go against and deny Aronofsky talent to choose and receive exactly what he wants from an individual scene.

For me the biggest plus the film has was the choice of Rourke as the protagonist. Honestly, when I first found out I pondered and didn't know if he could encompass such a character. Nonetheless I lost that bet and Rourke still shows to be a mammoth of a presence on the big screen who doesn't shy away from showing character to deep embarrassed, humiliated and cutoff from it all and do it all in a perfect performance. In my opinion few could give the same performance in that role. 


So the Aronofsky - Rourke duo accomplish to create a great film that deserves to be seen as something will be gained by seeing it. In the start I spoke of a cinematic turn from Aronofsky and that's why "The Wrestler" can't be categorized as the classic cinefil that we've been used of him as a director, who in this film shows yet again his class and persistence for quality. Regarding Rourke I believe he deserved to get the Oscar, but stood unlucky and came against a deserved and fighting opponent.

"The Wrestler" demands the attention of a cinefil and undoubtedly make you enjoy the 2 and more hours the film is.

Personal Rating:


review by Kapapi

translated by Paul Katsaros from Greek

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